MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A clothing manufacturing plant in Alabama was undergoing a deep cleaning after two employees tested positive for the new coronavirus, and a top executive said the plant is scheduled to reopen Monday.
Workers walked out of the American Apparel plant in Selma on Thursday, the Selma Times-Journal reported. The walkout took place after the first case had been confirmed, and the second case was confirmed a short time later. Workers were told they would be paid their regular wages for Thursday and Friday while the plant was closed.
Chuck Lambert, the company's president and CEO, said the plant has followed coronavirus safety guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s just a tough time for everybody,” Lambert said. "We’re going to do the very best we can, and we’ve done that throughout.”
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has said in the coming week she will announce her plans to begin reopening parts of Alabama's economy. News outlets reported that about 50 people held a rally Saturday in Montgomery, urging Ivey to act quickly. A photo published by the Montgomery Advertiser showed one person holding a sign with the slogan, “Our freedoms are on ventilators."
The Alabama Department of Public Health said Sunday that the state had at least 6,253 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 213 deaths from it. The department also said at least 71,344 tests for the virus had been administered. The state's population is about 4.9 million.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.